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Contributions Of The Varkari Sampradaya To Hinduism

The contribution of the Varkari sampradaya to Hinduism is immense and unparalleled. All the saints of the Varkari sampradaya were against dry, futile karma-kanda — ritual and idle talk. They tried to emphasize the true spiritual and humanistic essence of Hindu religion. They presented Sanatana Dharma in a simple, straightforward, and practical form. They emphatically propounded the religion of love and fraternity. Though profound scholars themselves, they decried sapless scholarship which failed to sense the nearness of God. They stressed the cultivation of an affectionate and loving heart.

The work of these saints had great social importance, for they were great reformers. They did not
have sectarian views or a shallow spirit. They lived the philosophy they taught. They provided the common men and women with the courage to aspire after brahma-jnana, the knowledge of Brahman.

They said that every being — not the monk alone — is capable of getting moksha. The doors of Ishwara are open to all. They pointed out that ‘celibacy is not just the avoidance of the company of women; navhe brahmacharya bailichya tyage’; the feeling of non-attachment should be deep-rooted and natural.

The literature of the Varkari sampradaya is a treasure of the Marathi language. Some of the saints
speak in tones that are delicate and tender, like the rays of the moon, while others speak with the fierceness of fire.

The breadth of their vision is eloquently articulated in Sant Dnyaneshwar's ‘Pasayadana’:

May the Supreme Self be propitiated by this sacrifice in the form of a literary production and
grant me in charity only one boon (pasaya): that the evil vision of the vile and wicked lose all its
crookedness and sting, and that they develop love towards good actions; and further that there be
fellow-feeling amongst all beings. May the darkness in the form of sin get destroyed, and may the
people of the entire universe conduct themselves in the light of the rising sun in the form of one’s
own (religious) duty; and may each and every being get the fulfilment of each and every wish of his. Let the concourse of saints that shower all that is propitious on the universe, appear and visit perpetually the aggregate of beings on this earth. These saints are, as it were, the blossoms of the
moving ‘Kalpataru’ trees, or the lively towns of sentient ‘Chintamani’ gems, or the talking oceans
of nectar. May these saints who are uncontaminated moons and heatless suns be the constant
kinsmen (soyare) of all. In short, let all the three worlds be happy and perfected (with the bliss of
monism), and let them render service eternally to the primeval Supreme Being. And especially
those in this universe that (literally) live on (the constant study of ) this work (the Gita): may they
have perfect happiness both temporal as well as spiritual. Hearing this, the Lord of the universe (in
the form of the preceptor Nivruttinath) said, ‘This boon has been granted to you’, at which Jnanadev
became very happy.

SourceExcerpts from article titled Vithoba of Pandharpur by Dr Suruchi Pande in the October 2008 issue of Prabuddha Bharata Magazine.